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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Vocal cord injury
Two years ago I had a kidney stone blasted while under anesthesia. It was almost a two hour procedure. After waking up my voice was slightly hoarse, and became gradually hoarser over time. I was also unable to project my voice. I went to many doctors and but none of them was able to give me a diagnosis, until I was finally told by an acquaintance (not a doctor) that I should go see a VOICE doctor, (gee, I wonder why none of the many doctors I went to see, ever recommended that to me before?) Anyway, I finally got my diagnosis, I had a dislocated vocal cord and the some nerve damage. Because it took a year to get a diagnosis and because there was nerve damage, they were not going to be able to just push it back into it right location. I did have one procedure done where the were able to inject some kind of paste into the vocal chord to plump it up. That did improve my speaking voice somewhat. I am now able to talk in a soft voice, but I still can`t project or speak in a room where there is any kind of background noise, which is all public places. My question to you is: Is this a recognized risk, that I must have signed my name to before the procedure, or do you think it could be an incapable anesthesiologist?
Vocal cord injury is a recognized risk of tracheal (windpipe) intubation, which is a common, though not always essential, component of general anesthesia.
Mild laryngeal (voice box) injury is surprisingly frequent after tracheal intubation. Examination of the larynx will show bruising and/or swelling. More serious injury, such as vocal cord dislocation, is much less common. Temporary hoarseness is the main symptom of mild laryngeal injury and this almost always gets better without treatment.
Gareth S Kantor, MD
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University